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A 1914 Star awarded to the first British soldier killed in action during the First World War – £17,000 at Dix Noonan Webb.

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Killed in action near Mons on August 21, 1914, he is believed to be the first British soldier to have died during the First World War.

The medal was offered for sale on August 17 at Dix Noonan Webb as part of the collection of First World War medals owned by the late Barry Hobbs (1942- 2021) with a guide of £1800-2200 but sold at £17,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium). The buyer was described as a new collector resident in the UK and a very keen amateur historian of the Great War.

Parr, who signed up to the Middlesex Regiment in 1912 at the age of 15, arrived in France among the first units of the British Expeditionary Force on August 14, 1914.

The precise circumstances of his death are not entirely clear. However on August 21, in his role as a reconnaissance cyclist, he had been sent forward towards the village of Obourg, north-east of Mons, to locate the German positions.

It is thought that he had encountered an Uhlan (lancer) patrol from the German First Army and was killed in an exchange of fire. Parr lies buried in St Symphorien Military Cemetery, near Mons, Belgium, his grave symbolically opposite that of George Edwin Ellison (5th Royal Irish Lancers).

The latter died on November 11, 1918, and is considered the last British soldier killed in action during the Great War.